Archive for April, 2011

Arlingtonites – over half of our City Council is up for election, and now is our chance to come out and show them that we are engaged, that we’re paying attention, and that we do vote!

Election Day is May 14th, but early voting runs from May 2nd to 10th (every day!).

The best part about early voting is that you can vote at any polling location within Tarrant County (on election day you have to go to your local polling place)!

Here are the dates for early voting:

Monday, May 2 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tuesday, May 3 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Wednesday, May 4 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Thursday, May 5 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Friday, May 6 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday, May 7 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Sunday, May 8 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Monday, May 9 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Tuesday, May 10 7:00 am – 7:00 pm

And here are the locations in Arlington (check out the full list here) (and our map here):

Bob Duncan Center 2800 South Center Street
Elzie Odom Recreation Center 1601 NE Green Oaks Boulevard
Fire Training Center 5501 Ron McAndrew Drive
South Service Center 1100 SW Green Oaks Boulevard
Tarrant County Sub-Courthouse 700 E Abram Street

Also, UTA will hold early voting in the University Center from Tuesday, May 3 through Thursday, May 5th, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm!

If you’ll be out of town during the election period you can also request a mail-in ballot by May 6th.

On the ballot for this election (see your personalized sample ballot here):

Grab your ID or voter registration card and come out and let your voice be heard in the polling booth!
More details available from Tarrant County Elections.
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The opposition likes to cite anecdotal evidence to infer that people aren’t riding their bikes and there is no demand for bicycles in Arlington. For example, a certain District 3 candidate posted this picture on his Facebook page, along with the caption:

What do ya know, mandated bicycle parking that is getting no use…and on such a nice day.

What the picture doesn’t show is that in order to get to the car-friendly gas station and park your bike so you can get a tasty taquito, you have to ride in some very bike-unfriendly streets . The District 3 candidate’s comment is based on the fallacious assumption that 1) getting to the car-friendly gas station is a desirable destination for bicyclists and 2) that the built environment around the gas station is conducive to riding a bicycle.

People who support the Plan aren’t necessarily the kind of people who feel comfortable or safe riding with traffic without a bike lane stripe. Nor are the majority of motorists educated about a bicyclist’s right to ride in the street. But he would have known this if he’d actually read the plan.

Specifically,  Arlington Hike & Bike Plan, Chapter 8: Design Guidelines, 8-4. Quote (with our emphasis in BOLD):

Bicyclists typically have a wide range of skill levels from expert to novice. These skill levels are commonly designated as Type A, B, and C. Type A bicyclist is an expe­rienced adult who is capable of riding in motorized traffic in a shared road situation. Type B bicyclist has less experience and is most comfortable riding in a separated bike facility such as a bike lane. Type C bi­cyclist is a recreational bicyclist who is most comfortable on a low-volume residential road or off-road greenway (often a child or senior adult). These groups are not al­ways exclusive and are often mixed on a shared-use path. It is critical to ensure that safety and convenience of all users of a transportation system are accommodated in all project planning and development projects. At a minimum, the facilities will be designed for Type B bicyclist use, with the overall goal to meet the needs of Type C bicyclists to the greatest extent possible. In areas where specific needs have been identified (i.e., near schools), the needs of appropriate types of bicyclist will be ac­commodated.”

If we were to follow the District 5 Candidate’s logic in a pool analogy:

You could throw a water floaty into a public swimming pool filled with alligators, take a picture of the aforementioned floaty sitting empty, then say, “Hey! Another empty floaty at a public pool. And the water temperature is perfect.” Come on! Even James Bond would have a hard time making it out to that pool party.

The fact of the matter is that people do not want to ride to a destination if they perceive that their ride there is too dangerous. It has been proven that adding on-street bicycling infrastructure increases ridership. Increased ridership increases safety. Which increases ridership again. Read more about that here: Safety.

Prairie Fest is this weekend, and BFA will be riding out there together!

Meet us at Mav’s on Main Street at 9am, and prepare for a fun day. BFA will likely stay at the fest most of the day, so be sure to bring cash, picnic food, plenty of water. Prairie Fest will have a secure bike corral for all us riders!

Check out the planned route and facebook event!

Source Video: NYC Streets Blog / Street Films
Check out this 5 minute video and see, learn, understand, the benefits of road diets.

Why wouldn’t Arlington want to make its streets:

  • Efficient?
  • Safer?
  • Multi-modal?

Oh, because those opposed haven’t seen this video. Got it. They’ve just been reading and promoting myths and misinformation. Nice.

Alice in Wonderland Party

In case you missed last Thursday’s (03/31/2011) Tea Party Convention Town Hall Meeting let’s do a little recap. Despite support’s strong showing (3:1) at previous public meetings, the opposition put out a call to the local Tea Party and that helped make the room evenly split (despite opposition claims that they had 70%).

But to those in attendance : Thank you!

We showed up and stayed until the end. The Plan wasn’t railroaded, and Support speakers brought rational, well-supported arguments and presented them in a respectful manner. Those in opposition, well, they brought out their regular, misinformed opinions, as well as some conspiracy theories that stems from their belief that bike lanes are a U.N. conspiracy.

Instead of having staff completely heckled by the Opposition or “asked to give a deposition” as one council person described opposition’s verbal assault on staff, we were there to offer balance. We got in good points and even new ones.

Here’s a few quotes of those people that spoke in support:

“It’s a recreation and safety issue. We’re losing people to Fort Worth at a rate of 3:1 [in terms of home buyers].”
…..

“I’m a motorist and cyclist, but if I felt safer I’d take my car off the road.”
…..

“I’m thinking about the future of Arlington. We cannot look past that. My mother has said something to me for the past ten years. If you wait to have the baby until you can afford it, you will never have that baby. If we wait to build this until we can afford it, we will never build it. And people will not come here and we will not be able to compete with Fort Worth or Dallas or Grand Prairie or any other city in this Metroplex.”
…..

“Looking at the physiques of the people in this room, we could use a lot more hiking and biking. Probably a lot of people in this room, including me, won’t be here  in 30-40 years, so why are we getting our panties in such a twist?”

Arlington’s Hike & Bike Master Plan Built to Completion

By Bike Friendly Arlington

ARLINGTON, TX — April 07, 2031

It has been almost 20 years since Arlington adopted the Hike & Bike Master Plan, but the plan will see the final build out of bicycle infrastructure this weekend at a re-striping ceremony held at the corner of UTA blvd and Davis St.

The plan was adopted by the city council in the spring of 2011 and was implemented over the course of 20 years as roads were repaved, restriped, and funds became available for the off-street component of the plan.  Initially projected as a 30-40 year plan, the “if you build it, they will come” support of the bicycle lanes led to a faster than predicted implementation of the on-street and off-street bicycle infrastructure.

Long time resident and bicyclist, John Goldsprints was a student at UTA when the plan was adopted and remembers what it was like before the bike lanes and trails were a common sight in Arlington. “I remember when the plan went through. There was a pent up demand for more bike infrastructure that turned into some great momentum. But I also remember that the plan almost didn’t pass because those opposed were good at spreading their misinformation to Council and other residents. And they continued to do so despite all the research and supporting studies presented to show the safety, health, and environmental benefits of bicycling infrastructure.”

The city’s Economic Development Director, Sarah Friendly also commented on economic impacts that the bicycling infrastructure has had on Arlington over the past 20 years. “When the plan was first adopted, the City knew that it was an engine for economic development and it would give Arlington a competitive advantage over other bike friendly cities in the Metroplex like Fort Worth and Dallas. At the time of adoption, Arlington was aging in place and we needed a younger tax base. The city knew that investing in on-street and off-street bicycle infrastructure would help attract the younger generation looking for more transportation options.”

"Let BFA be your guide."

"Let BFA be your guide."

Opponents have made a number of FALSE CLAIMS and SUGGESTIONS about the New TDP and Hike & Bike plan, and they need to be corrected.

1. Myth #1:

Opponents falsely suggest that the TDP will reduce lanes in all the roadways listed in the TDP and cause congestion.[1]

+THE TRUTH:

The NEW TDP will INCREASE the number of lane miles of roadway in the city by 216 miles, a much safer and more financially responsible number than the 348 miles stated in the old TDP.  The old TDP planned for expansions that are larger than is needed, because Arlington is nearly built out.

Around 97% to 98% of the city’s existing roadway (in lane miles) will either have the same number of lanes as today, or have an increase in their number of lanes.

 A small number of street segments, only around 2% to 3% of the city’s existing roadway (14 road segments comprising 14.7 miles of road, or 29.4 lane miles) (29.4 lane miles / 1,200 total existing miles = 2.45%), and only comprising around 2% of future total roadway (29.4 lane miles / 1,416 total future lane miles), would undergo what’s known as a “Road Diet” or “Travel Lane Conversion.  Hike and Bike Plan, p. 3-12, Table 3.4,  and Mobility in Arlington, February 2011, p. 3 (figures on total lane miles existing and planned).

Furthermore, these Road Diets will maintain traffic flow and increase safety by reducing accidents. These 14 segments are planned to have one vehicle lane converted to a bike lane.  Those roads will still have two vehicle travel lanes, and 13 of the 14 will have a MIDDLE TURN LANE ADDED to MAINTAIN TRAFFIC FLOW and reduce collisions.  Drivers turning left will have a free middle turn lane and will no longer clog traffic waiting behind them.

The TDP discusses specifically 52 road segments and proposed changes to them, at page 24, Table 5.2.  Most of these roadway segments will NOT undergo a road diet or travel lane conversion and will actually either STAY THE SAME or INCREASE LANES!  Only 14 road segments out of 52 listed in the TDP are planned to have a reduction in vehicle lanes.

Using computer modeling and analysis, professional engineers and planners have determined the NEW TDP will result in GOOD TRAFFIC FLOW, either a “Level of Service” of A/B, or a  “Level of Service” C/D in which “traffic moves along at an efficient rate and posted speeds are maintained.”[2]

 2. MYTH #2:

 Opponents falsely claim that a Road Level of Service C/D is inadequate.

 +THE TRUTH:

Road Level of Service C/D is GOOD, for a mature community such as Arlington. Think of it as a balancing scale.

  • Level C/D is the RIGHT BALANCE between the extremes of Level A/B (excessive cost, speed, and danger) and Level E/F (congestion).  At Level of Service C/D, “…Traffic moves along at an efficient rate and posted speeds are maintained.”[3]
  • Level A/B means speeding and over-building in a city like Arlington.  It’s excessive and expensive (taxpayers are paying for miles of road that won’t be fully utilized).  Level A/B means “traffic volumes are much less than the actual capacity of the thoroughfare” and traffic flow is “at or above the posted speed limit.” It’s dangerous, because these roads increase SPEEDING and ACCIDENTS.  These roads create unpleasant living conditions that could resemble living right on an interstate highway—near your neighborhood!). The 2011 Citizen Survey cited “speeding through neighborhoods” as the top concern among residents.

Although towns on the edges of the metroplex, (like McKinney or Mansfield) with vast open areas to annex and expand, might consider Level of Service A/B, ARLINGTON DOESN’T NEED THIS in most areas.  WE’RE A MATURE COMMUNITY, virtually landlocked by other communities and our future growth will occur in different, creative ways, like around UTA and also the Veridian development.

Professional engineers and planners have analyzed our projected future growth and where it will occur and have determined that the new TDP roadway plans will accommodate our growth, at a lower cost to taxpayers and increased safety to the public.

Level C/D is just the right balance. It’s EFFICIENT and SAFE.  It’s the GOAL LEVEL OF SERVICE that the city wants to achieve for most roads in Arlington, except for some areas where a predominantly pedestrian environment is desired, for instance, near UTA campus.

3. MYTH #3:

Opponents falsely state that we will lose 108 traffic lane miles of roadway.[4]

 +THE TRUTH:

 There will only be a conversion of approximately 14.7 traffic lane miles of roadway from cars to bicycles or pedestrian uses (Road Diet).  Hike and Bike Plan, p. 3-12, Table 3.4.

The city will actually have an INCREASE of 216 traffic lane miles of roadway.  Mobility in Arlington, February 2011, p. 3.

4. MYTH #4:

Opponents falsely claim that the TDP and Hike and Bike plan are too costly and will hurt the environment.

+THE TRUTH:

 the new TDP is CHEAPER than the Old Plan (by $130 million!), and together with the Hike and Bike plan will bring GREATER BENEFITS to people in their everyday lives, in Safety, Health, Environment, Economics, Choice and Community.

 Opponents have publicized false fuel cost figures on the new TDP plan, using INCORRECT ASSUMPTIONS.  For instance:

 a. Most importantly, they fail to include the POSITIVE ECONOMIC BENEFITS of the new plans. Studies show that CALMING TRAFFIC to reasonable speeds, and PEDESTRIAN and BICYCLE IMPROVEMENTS will actually INCREASE PROPERTY VALUES, INCREASE COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY, and LOWER HEALTH CARE COSTS for people.  (See “ECONOMICS” and “HEALTH” below).

b. they use the wrong number for the increase in the number of daily vehicle minutes traveled per capita.  The new TDP is projected to result in only one extra minute of travel per day on average.

c. they estimate future fuel consumption based on population instead of number of vehicles on the road.  This is like assuming that babies and kids under 16 are driving, when in fact children are passengers, not drivers.

d. they assume that no one switches to other forms of transportation over the next 20 years

e. they assume no improvements in gas mileage for cars over the next 20 years

f. they fail to discount the future fuel expense to net present value terms, and express it in today’s dollars, (a dollar expense tomorrow is less than a dollar today) and they fail to take into account changes in people’s future purchasing power.

5. MYTH #5:

 Opponents falsely suggest that “…The bike plan will convert 271.7 miles (see bike plan section 3-5) of street lanes from vehicle use to bicycle use.”[5]

+THE TRUTH:

 Only about 14.7 miles of street, would be converted from car to bicycle:  that’s only about 2% of all city streets planned!  And in these few cases, car lanes will STILL EXIST on these roads, and cars will gain a clear MIDDLE TURN LANE which will MAINTAIN TRAFFIC FLOW and REDUCE ACCIDENTS.  

 Most bike routes will be created from painted stripes, arrows, signs, and off road sidepaths and greenways.  The Plan is very flexible in how this is done.

  • around 90% of the planned on-street bike routes DON’T REQUIRE CONVERSION OF CAR LANES.

 6. MYTH #6:

 Opponents falsely suggest that bicycle lane construction costs the same as street construction ($1 million per mile).[6]

 +THE TRUTH:

 The Top Priority bike projects at Appendix C of the Hike and Bike Plan provide dollar figures for bike projects, and simple arithmetic shows that all are well below the Opposition’s false dollar figure of $1 million per mile.  For instance, Bike Project #2 is only $2,437 per mile.

7. MYTH #7:

Opponents falsely suggest that Right of Way costs were omitted in the Priority Bike projects.[7]

 +THE TRUTH:

 There are no Right of Way applicable costs for the on-street Priority Pilot and Bike projects because all of these projects fit within existing city Right of Way.[8]

8. MYTH #8:

Opponents falsely claim that changing stations will be one of the new “building code requirements” beginning in 2012-2013.[9]

+THE TRUTH:

 There was never a “building code requirement” for changing stations in the Hike and Bike Plan.

[1] S.O.S. Update #16 Falsely describes their flawed flyer as “containing a list of streets slated for downsizing” and states that their flyer is a “…very effective (jaw dropping!) (sic) flyer that lists the many Arlington streets slated for lane reductions….”  Update # 16 also falsely describes their flawed flyer as “containing a list of streets slated for downsizing.”  These statements FALSELY suggest that ALL roadway segments listed in the TDP are slated for downsizing when in fact a large majority of the roadway segments in this list will REMAIN THE SAME or actually INCREASE!  See the Thoroughfare Development Plan, Draft February 2011, page 24 and Table 5.2. http://www.arlingtontx.gov/planning/pdf/TDP/FEB_2011_TDP_REPORT.pdf at page 24 and Table 5.2.

[2] Mobility in Arlington, February 2011, page 3, Table entitled, “2030 Thoroughfare Development Plan (TDP) Performance,” Level of Service (LOS) A-D, http://www.arlingtontx.gov/planning/pdf/TDP/February%20Brochure_Final.pdf ; and City of Arlington Thoroughfare Development Plan, Draft February 2011, http://www.arlingtontx.gov/planning/pdf/TDP/FEB_2011_TDP_REPORT.pdf , at page 5, definitions of Level of Service (L.O.S.).

[3]City of Arlington Thoroughfare Development Plan, Draft February 2011, http://www.arlingtontx.gov/planning/pdf/TDP/FEB_2011_TDP_REPORT.pdf , at page 5, definitions of Level of Service (L.O.S.).

[4] S.O.S. Update #14.

[5] S.O.S. Update #22.

[6] S.O.S. Update #22

[7] S.O.S. Update # 22.

[8] Hike and Bike Plan, Appendix C.

[9] S.O.S. Update #22.





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